Sound — 8
So this is it! Bloc Party's eagerly anticipated third album. I have to say, after I heard the first single, Mercury, I had my doubts. I was beginning to wonder if it would be the "fall" of Bloc Party, that some die-hard fans from the Little Thoughts EP days were starting to talk about. After listening to the album however, those doubts were swept away. Claims that the album was going to be similiar to another Silent Alarm were inaccurate, as were the rumours that Bloc Party were going techno. On Intimacy, Bloc Party mixes that classic Bloc sound we all know and love (Halo), a slightly technological edge (Trojan Horse) and experimantal rawness (Ares), along with the beautiful Signs, and the restful Ion Square, which finishes off the album extremely well. Russell Lissack continues to shine in his lead guitar duties with some great riffs on Halo and Trojan Horse, while Gordon Moakes' brilliantly simple bass playing and Matt Tong's energetic drums provide an excellent rhythm section. For me, Mercury was a very weird choice for a single, as it doesn't display any real aspects of Intimacy, apart from the technological side and vocal sampling.
Lyrics — 9
Lead singer Kele Okereke has stated that this is his "Break-Up Album", and lyrics on One Month Off, Trojan Horse, and Zephyrus paint a vivid picture of life as only Bloc Party can with lyrics such as "You used to take your watch off, before we made love/ You didn't want to share our time with anyone" from Trojan Horse and the chorus lyrics in One Month Off "I can be as cruel as you/Fighting fire with firewood/ I can be as cruel as you/Fighting lies with lies" are the particular lyrics that stand out for me. Okereke also pulls on other inspiration, with Better Than Heaven having a religious side to the lyrics, and Ion Square quoting poet E.E Cummings on the chorus "I carry your heart here with me, I carry it in my heart". Biko is about a friend with cancer "If I could eat your cancer I would", and Signs is written about a loved one dying "At your funeral I was so upset". He continues to experiment with his vocal style, with wild screaming on the crazed opener Ares, and vocal sampling on Mercury and One Month Off.
Overall Impression — 9
For those expecting a second Silent Alarm, Intimacy may have come as a bit of a shock. Intimacy is well produced, with well known producers Paul Epworth and Jacknife Lee. It showcases the bands evolving musical style, and enhances Kele Okereke's reputation as a lyricist. In a sense, this album is Bloc Party's equivalent of Radiohead's Kid A, in what it has done for the band, and the changes in the band's sound. Overall, Intimacy is a great buy, and I would thouroughly recommend it.